Categories:UK

Clifford Chance set to launch gay network

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  • "visible element within the workforce"

    How about if just everybody minded their own business, instead of making sexual orientation an issue? To normal people - whether gay or straight - work and sex are two different things. This really looks like a politically ubercorrect obsession.

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  • LGBT visibility

    It's great that Clifford Chance is joining a number of other City law firms in having its own LGBT network -- including Allen & Overy, Baker & McKenzie, Herbert Smith and Pinsent Masons -- and recognising the truth in the Stonewall tagline 'People perform better when they can be themselves'. The focus on sexual orientation is not about sex, but about discrimination and fear, and the impact (on performance at work) of hiding in the closet, or of suffering discrimination if you don't.

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  • RE: "visible element within the workforce"

    I laugh whenever I hear some moron drone on about how everyone gay or striaght should "mind their own business, instead of making sexual orientation an issue." FINE. Let's do that. This means that all you straight people have to quit talking about your spouses, your kids, your disgusting babies, your weddings, who you're dating, etc. Straightness is EVERYWHERE at work. All gay people want is to be able to come to work and casually mention or discuss certain aspects of life - the same things that straight people discuss all the time - without fear or embarassment.

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  • RE: Visible element within the workforce

    I wanted to respond to the first comment that "everyone should mind their own business". I think that you are missing the point. Whether we like it or not, sexual orientation affects everyone's lives in the workplace. Straight people talk about their dating, marriages, kids, etc. at work all the time. Its one of the ways that people get to know each other. LGBT people also need to have a safe work environment where they can also feel that they can openly talk about their dating, partners and kids and that being open will not adversely affect their career. Kudos to Clifford Chance for doing the right thing.

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  • safe work environment

    I understand what you guys are saying, however, what does setting up a corporate "LGBT network" and counting gay/lesbian folks within a corporation have to do with people being open about themselves in informal situations? A few quotes from the text: "Gay rights advocacy group Stonewall called the firm's LGBT policy into question." "Employers can then engage directly with the needs of staff". "JPMorgan now asks prospective panel firms for diversity statistics and companies such as Transport for London are following suit." If gay folks are unable to talk about themselves openly then either the workforce are homophobic (then: don't recruit homophobes) or the gay employees' concerns are imaginary. And if there ever has been a case of corporate discrimination based on sexual preferences, like a promotion being put to a halt, that's not going to be solved by official exposure of gay/lesbian people either. "LGBT policies" and employers "engaging with the needs of the staff" are nonsense, what is that? My suggestion: just don't discriminate.

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  • LGBT visibility

    Surely LGBT visibility is about tackling ignorance, which is the root cause of discrimination. We now at least have a legal framework surrounding sexual orientation discrimination, which is a start, but is far from 'battle won'. Custom, habit and ingrained ignorance takes decades to eradicate (see race and sex discrimination) but visibility, and, yes, the odd case of making a fuss, is a necessary step. As someone who has faced discrimination in the workplace, I can tell the first poster that this has nothing to do with what I do in the bedroom, it is about who I am as a person. We can't just switch off being gay, it affects every aspect of our lives, and my experience suggests that where ignorance is tackled head-on, great strides can be made in gaining respect and achieving equal treatment.

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  • LGBT

    What a nonsense. Can I launch a left handers network? This network will cater for all left handers who feel left out when right handers get together. Sheer madness. Who cares? The majority of us do not.

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  • Ignorance - superficial acceptance

    If anything, the last comment is clear evidence for why such network support/development groups are necessary - even if law firms are only getting on the bandwagon because it helps them "appear" to mirror their clients' own diversity policies. They wouldn't be doing it otherwise.
    There are so many complacent straight people who assume that, because there is slightly more gay visibility in the media, acceptance in polite, politically correct society, everything is perfectly fine and how can anyone possibly feel the need to raise his or her head above the parapet and complain. Believe it or not, there remains deep seated discrimination just beneath the surface and behind closed doors in all law firms! The last comment would seem to have been posted by someone who has never suffered the kind of discrimination that is being referred to. Of course the majority does not care, that is because you are the majority and not being discriminated against. In addition, one of the most frustrating phenomena is the issue of gay lawyers who do get promoted to partner level (admittedly a minority, often in employment and family departments - unsurprisingly due to the desire for firms to advertise their gay friendly credentials to clients in fields directly related to discrimination and civil partnership laws) and then take on an "I'm all right Jack" attitude and do nothing to improve the position of their gay colleagues for fear of rocking the boat or for purely selfish reasons. There is a hell of a long way to go.

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  • Creating issues that don't exist

    Surely the creation of a special club for gays and lesbians encourages a 'them and us' attitude which didn't exist before. It's the same with Asian lawyers associations and black police officers' associations etc etc. If this is about stopping any form of discrimination then surely no one would mind me starting a white protestant heterosexual solicitors club would they? And no, I don't feel the need as I don't pigeon hole people by one specific characteristic, be it the colour of their skin or their orientation.

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  • Last comment

    What an idiotic comment! Of course no one would mind if you started a white Protestant heterosexual solicitors group...the reason you don't need to is that there is no discrimination against the majority/dominant grouping in any part of society. This is an age-old comeback from those who have never suffered discrimination and shows precisely why such groups are so important. What continues to appall me is that a profession uniformly consisting of intelligent and well-educated people can continue to be, on an individual basis, so socially conservative and - yes - discriminatory. Unfortunately, this kind of comment just displays a behaviour that is the root cause of all types of discrimination: ignorance. You joined a profession committed to justice and equal treatment under the law: perhaps time to reconsider how you personally fit into that.

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  • Why the anonymous comments?

    It may be rather telling that all of these comments were made on an anonymous basis. This is still an issue on which people are afraid to be open and frank. As an openly gay partner in a large Scottish law firm, I am continually saddened by the fact that many LGBT members of the profession are unable to be open about their lives and loves at work.
    My firm has a very inclusive diversity policy which seeks to make every member of the firm feel valued. We do not run to an LGBT network but our collegiality and inclusiveness makes that unnecessary. The more people who are prepared to be themselves, the less need there is for support from others. I celebrated my civil partnership on the day they came into force. As a W.S., I sent in my ‘marriage’ certificate to the WS Dependants’ Annuity Fund to seek the same pension rights for my partner as would be accorded to my wife, had I married. Yesterday, by unanimous vote, the rules of the Fund were amended to include civil partners as dependants. The profession is moving forward. Just have the guts to stand up and be counted.

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  • Well done Clifford Chance

    This is exactly the type of step which needs to be taken by the large law firms in order to show the smaller ones that discrimination is no longer acceptable. I previously worked at a top 5 international law firm and knew of at least 6 other lawyers there who were gay but did not feel that they could be open about it with their work colleagues. Surely that speaks for itself. I currently work at a medium size firm and know that the senior members of the partnership and management would discriminate against any openness within the workplace. Homophobic jokes in partners meetings are in fact commonplace. I can also attest to the fact that not being able to be open does have an adverse effect on work satisfaction and feeling part of the team. Interestingly I have felt able on a number of occasions to be completely open with clients who have not batted an eyelid. Too many lawyers are still living in a bubble.

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  • Autonomous Empowerment

    How ridiculous most of the comments are here - “the left handed network” that comment is a disgrace and I personally take offence. LGBT groups within the workplace provide a forum for support, representation and discussion for workers who are oppressed inside work and out.
    Discrimination does not stop on the doorstep at work- it’s inside work as well. Until very recently it was legal to sack someone because of their sexuality, and it is still legal to do that in faith-based organisations. These forums are tackling homophobia, they’re making LGBT peoples working lives better.
    You think because Graham Norton's on telly that now everything's fine? Get real, wake up because its not. Why can't I hold my partners hand down the high street? Because I will be beaten up. But I can hold my partner’s hand in a gay village, because it is safe - just like talking about my issues at work in an LGBT network meeting - it is safe.
    I suggest you keep your Daily Mail/Telegraph/Sun views to yourself and let us get on challenging discrimination.

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  • view from Russia

    Clifford Chance and other magic circle law firms are really progressive in their decision to open the LGBT network.

    As Anonymous said on 6-Nov-2007 @ 15:19PM: “that it's not about sex but about overcoming fear.”

    Frankly speaking, I would like to propose to partners of my law firm in Moscow to open such a network within our firm, but it seems to me that no-one would listen, because Russians are not quite tolerant to such issues. I feel that some of our clients may leave us for good because of our "attitude"...

    Well, good luck to those who are not afraid to go against society's mainstream.

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